The Nigerian president addressed Anglican clerics in Bayelsa.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said the Federal Government and security agencies would do everything possible to ensure the release of a kidnapped Anglican cleric, Ignatius Kattey.
Mr. Kattey, the Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, and his wife, Beatrice, were kidnapped in Aleto, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State by gunmen last week Friday on their way to Port Harcourt.
The cleric’s wife was later abandoned, while he is still being held by the kidnappers.
Mr. Jonathan, who spoke at a Standing Committee meeting of the Anglican Communion at St. Peter’s Deanery, Yenagoa, in Bayelsa State, condemned the abduction of Mr. Kattey.
“It is a matter of personal pain and regret to me that the Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey, the Bishop of the Province of the Niger Delta is not with us today because he is still being held by abductors.
“It is quite worrisome that such inhuman crime as kidnapping has now taken root in our society, it certainly calls for real soul searching and re-evaluation of our entire value system.
“I strongly condemn the continued abduction by criminal elements in our society who seek to profit from other people’s suffering and humiliation. The Federal Government and its security agencies will continue to do everything possible to rescue Bishop Kattey and other abductees and ensure that their kidnappers are brought to justice,” he said.
The President also noted that the security situation in the country had considerably improved following the declaration of the state of emergency in the North Eastern part of the country.
“The gains of the state of emergency in the North East had been tremendous and felt by all. From a society that was coping with uncertainty, we are now beginning to see a gradual return to normalcy in most parts of the North and other parts of the country with greater level of certainty in our daily lives”, he said.
The President charged the church to work towards restoring the dignity in family units and their traditional role as bedrock of a just, peaceful and secure society.
He expressed sympathy with churches, places of worship and families who lost property and loved ones in recent crisis, stressing that no injustice done would go unpunished.
“As you proceed to your deliberations, I urge you to remain mindful of the critical role the family and quality education have to play in the urgent task of correcting our value system and to reflect and proffer actions the church can take to support our family unit and our educational system.
“I strongly believe that as a nation, we must collectively return our family units to their traditional roles as the bedrock of a just, peaceful and secure society.
“The family unit which was one of our most prized assets as a people still holds the key to correcting our warp value system but it requires the support of our churches, other religious bodies, schools and men and women of goodwill,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan urged churches to continue taking the front lead in the establishment of educational institutions as well as educational support especially in science and technology.
“It is a fact that some of the biggest and best educational institutions in the world today have their foundations in the church. I commend the church in Nigeria for its complementary efforts in providing education.
“I urge you to do more in this regard as we could do with more educational support especially in the area of science and technology. We are confronted with challenges today that only sound research and innovation can solve, we cannot continue to look outside for solutions forever, Nigeria has the potentials to provide answers to its own problems and with your assistance, we can surmount the challenges in our educational sector,” he said.
In his speech, the Primate of the Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh, said that the country needs a lot of prayers to surmount its challenges.
Also speaking at the event, the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, urged the church to continue praying for the unity of the country.
He called for support for the Jonathan- led administration in its efforts at improving the lives of Nigerians and the establishment of structures that would provide meaningful services to the people.
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